The AFR is reporting that the incoming Abbott Government will be “redistributing” funds from the Early Years Quality Fund and a similar wage-increase fund in the aged care sector.
The Coalition may reallocate the childcare fund, which was set up to distribute any taxpayer-subsidised pay rises for childcare workers.
It is unclear whether any childcare workers had received the wage top-up already because the Labor government was late to release the eligibility rules for the two-year wages subsidy, which was due to end in 2015.
The Coalition’s childcare policy states it would honour any contracts already made and the remaining funds would be kept in the government’s childcare budget.
It is entirely unclear what this will actually mean. No money has started rolling out to services, although some contracts have been signed.
Some services had received “conditional approval”, and the incoming Government has not made clear whether they will be honoured.
UPDATE: Early Childhood Australia have released a statement calling on the incoming Government to honour the funding commitments in the EYQF. The statement is worth reading in full, and highlights the inequities and divisions inherent in the Fund.
In order to be eligible for the fund, organisations were required to have an Enterprise Agreement (EA) in place with their employees. The creation of ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’ did not sit well with a sector that takes its ethics and commitment to social equity very seriously. There was considerable dissension and concern in the early childhood sector, as demonstrated by the submissions to the Senate Inquiry Submissions on the Legislation.